Emotional Structure: Creating the Story Beneath the Plot, A Workshop for Screenwriters
Leader: Peter Dunne
One-week Residential Workshop, arriving 21 August and departing 28 August
Much weight has been given to screenplay structure, but understanding structure is not the same as understanding writing. We are all familiar with scripts and films whose plot points fall nicely into place like pieces of a puzzle, yet are still missing an elemental, terribly important something.
The explanation is simple. Though every screenplay plot has a beginning, middle, and end, it's more important and often ignored, complex structural level is that which lies beneath.
Hidden yet hard at work, the Emotional Structure is the script's internal landscape -- its secret architecture that successfully informs the plot with purpose, viscerally connects the internal and external themes, and directly manipulates the tensions and rhythms of the drama's central ideas.
Without understanding Emotional Structure, the beginning, the middle, and the end of your script will have a one hundred percent chance of becoming the beginning, the muddle, and the end. This is because emotion rules the central, most misunderstood and most feared element of a screenplay -- that of the story's underlying meaning. And only by understanding Emotional Structure can we bring solid, creative solutions to the writing process, and meaning to our stories. It is the surest way to turn your script's problems into your script's power.
Fortunately for us, long before God created Hollywood, He created Ireland, home of the real storytellers, and the Beara Peninsula, home of the extraordinary and spiritual setting of Anam Cara. For, surely, He knew that one day every one of us was going to need the perfect place to find the strength and the courage to face the screenwriter's demons.
Writing is hard work. It demands a willingness on our part to expose our innermost selves by creating heroes who become living expressions of our spiritual DNA. That is why, combined with the serene and contemplative ambiance of Anam Cara, this workshop is specifically designed to offer the encouragement, and support, and enlightenment every writer needs, every day.
The workshop welcomes writers of all levels and will be composed of conversations addressing key issues of story, plot, conflict, and dialog; plenty of writing time in comfortable spaces to find your words; plenty of wandering time in beautiful places to find yourself; and private consultations with a special emphasis on helping each writer develop his or her own screenplay's Emotional Structure.
An award-winning producer and writer, Peter Dunne brings three decades of experience in script development, writing, and producing to every project. His experiences as a writer and producer have taken him around the world: from Los Angeles to London, from Portland to Atlanta, from Las Vegas to New Zealand.
Peter served as the Vice President of Development for three Hollywood studios before beginning his career as a screenwriter and producer. Among the projects he has produced and/or written are such classics as CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, Melrose Place, Savannah, Police Story, Dallas, Knots Landing, JAG, Nowhere Man, Dr. Quinn: Medicine Woman, and the extraordinary mini-series Sybil.
He has compiled an impressive list of honors along the way that includes the Emmy Award, the George Foster Peabody Broadcasting Award, the Scott Newman Award, the Chicago Film Festival's Silver Hugo, and the distinguished Kennedy Foundation Honors, among others.
Peter is the author of the book Emotional Structure: Creating the Story Beneath the Plot (A Screenwriter's Guide), published by Quill Driver Press, and is a contributing writer to Quality TV: Contemporary American Television and Beyond, published by I.B. Taurus, London. He teaches screenwriting at the UCLA School of the Arts, Writers' Program, and has been a visiting lecturer at Santa Clara University, The University of Southern California, and The University of Central America in El Salvador.
A dual-citizen of the United States and Ireland, Dunne is a member of the Writers Guild of America, the Producers Guild of America, The Irish Writers Union, PEN Ireland, PEN USA, and PEN International. He is currently writing an unauthorized autobiography.
Saturday, October 17, 2009
Sunday, October 11, 2009
Workshop Leader: Karen Blomain
One-Week Residential Retreat, arriving Saturday, 12 June and departing Saturday, 19 June
"Come to magnificent Eyeries on the Beara Peninsula, West Cork, Ireland. In the tranquil setting of Anam Cara, A Retreat for Writers, a relaxed format workshop for writers at all levels of accomplishment, from the novice wishing to try her hand at writing, to the seasoned writer who needs to jump start his muse for a new project, to those wishing to challenge themselves in a different art form or genre. Non-writing spouses/partners welcome; they'll find the peaceful, Irish vistas the perfect getaway and may even find themselves drawn into their own creative outlets.
"Participants are encouraged to bring ideas and dreams rather than existing work. This is a generative workshop, and does not focus on revision or editing. Instead, through daily readings and writing exercises we will explore craft issues of character development, dialog, pacing, tone, sequencing, use of description and exploration of narrative strategies. The workshop sessions are tailored to address the needs of writers in all genres. When reservations are in place, suggested reading information will be supplied."
Karen Blomain is a multi-genre writer, having published in poetry, short fiction, novels, non-fiction, essay, translation and plays. An educator with thirty years of experience in the classroom, she has taught writing workshops for participants at all ages and levels of experience in France, Austria, Russia, Mexico, Ireland and across the US. To learn more about Karen's writing, publishing and workshops (including photos and comments by participants), see her website karenblomain.com.